Mandatory Reading

Dr. Adam (aka AKMA) has posted some of the material he presented at a clergy day. The first part* is an excellent overview of the problems of interpretation in an ecclesial context and maps some of the very real issues at work in our Anglican debate. What he leads to without saying in so many words is a spirit of generosity and hospitality when it comes to other peoples’ readings of Scripture. I think he has absolutely hit the nail on the head.

The perennial Christian problem, though, is courage. How do we maintain the courage and conviction to be open-minded, hospitible and generous even when we suspect heartily that our readings and sometimes our very person will be met with close-mindedness or even hatred? As I see it, this perspective reopens the age-old debate about Christian attitudes to abuse. What is the texture of the specturm from being abusive in turn (which clearly is bad) to playing the role of the Christian door-mat (which is equally bad). I’ve always envisioned that there is a place somewhere on that spectrum where vulnerability and openness pass through the paradox of the cross that transforms weakness into strength where the very meekness and innocence of the lamb standing as if it had been slain is transformed into the eschatological power of the conquering lion of the tribe of Judah (cf. Rev 5:5-6). Of course, finding that place can be a real trick…

The Menologium is translated; I hope to post it later tonight.

*I’m attempting a trackback…we’ll see if it works. [Update: Didn’t work…hmmm.]

About Derek Olsen

I'm a layman within the Episcopal Church with a PhD in New Testament and an interest in most things medieval, monastic, and liturgical. My chief job is keeping up with my priestly wife and our two awesome kids. In addition to that, I earn a living, run the St Bede's Breviary, listen to loud goth/industrial music, and do some stuff for the church. I currently serve as Secretary to the Standing Commission on Liturgy and Music where I'm also co-chair of the Calendar committee and chair of the Digital Publications committee.
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5 Responses to Mandatory Reading

  1. *Christopher says:


    That is indeed the trick, and I think it requires a lot of spaces for silence and an ability to live with non-consensus in the meantime while supporting all of us in the hard-struggling places we are as faithful Christians.

    That’s my beef really, we talk about “bigots” and such terms as a problem, but so is “unorthodox”. But there is a power difference at play in all of this. Folks like myself are often thought of as not taking theology or the Bible seriously or our faith seriously. I often find that in such settings I’m put up on a block like at auction for everyone to talk about without the mutual vulnerability. The cry is “justify yourself!” There’s a sense in which my claim to follow Christ is somehow ancillary to everyone else figuring this out as the Body…of which I’m not really a member.
    Having been through one to many of these “conversations” in liberal parishes, I’m not sure I’m willing to undergo any of those ever again….I’m more likely just to go silent and into mediation as everyone hashes it out. I’m reminded of Jesus before Pilate.

    BTW: I would appreciate your thoughts on my latest posting, especially given brian’s comment.

  2. *Christopher says:

    btw: trackback doesn’t tend to work with blogger.

  3. bls says:

    Well, wasn’t there something about being “wise as serpents and gentle as doves.”

    The “wise” part is important.

  4. Annie says:

    Trackback has never worked for me, either.

    I call it the window of doubt although it is terribly difficult to keep open when people are hurling accusations, usually false.


  5. LutheranChik says:

    My tendency in these situations is to become defensive, snide and dismissive. Which is neither Christlike nor particularly effective. [rueful smile] Which always manages to underscore for me the truth that I don’t always, or even most of the time, get it right.

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